Sheppard U-turn may deliver Kenny new Danish hope

Article by Kieran Burke Should Karl Sheppard play on Sunday? It seems such a silly question now not even forty-eight hours after the hard-working wide-man delivered Cork City a first league and cup double in the clubs history at the Aviva Stadium. All the talk pre-match centered on the apparent "done deal" which would reportedly make Sheppard a Dundalk player following full time in Sunday's FAI Cup final. However, the man who stood up and converted the first of the "Rebels" five penalties in a dramatic penalty shoot-out triumph over Dundalk has this evening been announced as signing a new two-year-deal on Leeside.

How this seemingly impossible U-turn has come to pass is unknown, it had been muted Dublin native Sheppard was eager to move closer to North Dublin and with the "Lilywhites" training on evenings at Oriel Park it looked to suit the wingers lifestyle, but perhaps the allure of full-time 52 week contracts with the newly crowned champions was too good to turn down?

Despite this desperate blow for an already deflated Dundalk manager, Stephen Kenny may see this as an opportunity to make one last attempt at persuading home-sick Danish defender Niclas Vemellund to stick it out for another season in the League of Ireland.

Having impressed during his maiden season in Ireland with Kenny Shields Derry City, the great Dane was cherry-picked by ex "Candystripe" Kenny in the off-season and stood out massively for Dundalk in 2017, especially in European competition. Appearing to leave the door slightly ajar in an interview today, Vemmelund stated there was as of yet no deal with any other club in place meaning he would assess his options upon returning home over the winter. With Kenny no longer having the opportunity to add Karl Sheppard to the Oriel Park pay-roll and speculation in today's papers regarding an American based take-over at the County Louth club perhaps extra funds could be offered in order to extend the Danes services for Dundalk.

In other transfer news based around the double winners, Greg Bolger has this evening announced his spell at Turners Cross is now over with a move to the Tallaght Stadium confirmed. On his way in to the "Rebels" dressing room from the Capital could be Bohemians striker Ishmail Akinade who continues to be linked with what would undoubtedly be the biggest move of the strikers career so far having impressed under Keith Long in recent seasons.

Elsewhere, hot Galway United property Ronan Murray is being touted with a switch to local rivals and full-time outfit Sligo Rovers.

Speaking of full-time clubs, newly promoted Waterford United have started their off-season business early with Patrick McClean, Sander Puri,  John Martin and goalkeeper Matt Connor all re-signing at the RSC for 2018. It's believed the "Blues" remain interested in acquiring Limerick's Bastian Heri, who the "Super Blues" had hoped to replace with Derry star Barry McNamee but as of today the midfielder is being linked with none other than local rivals and newly crowned champions Cork City!

It's safe to say this could be the craziest off-season the League of Ireland has ever seen!